Monday, October 26, 2009

Next Monday

Next Monday is the first day of the rest of my life.

Four years ago I set my nursing career aside. Three years on the job and that would be it. Although I loved the patients, I felt I was too type B to ever truly succeed in the field. I just wanted to smooth fevered brows, rub tired muscles and listen to the stories my patients wanted to tell. What with all the running here and there and charting, and arrogant physicians barking and scowling, it seemed the important work never got done.

So I stayed at home, sat at my desk and wrote. I wrote and wrote and wrote about facing the loss of my father at thirteen, about trying to make sense of the world after that. But I didn't write much, or talk much either, about what it has been like to lose the hopes and dreams I had for my youngest child, when he was three years old, when autism came calling. I kept almost mum on the subject, only writing entries here just after particularly memorable visits with Caleb.

Because to write about, or talk about, a loss that has no ending is to open up a privately seeping wound for all the world to see. Air blows on the wound, someone accidentally brushes it when walking by; this thing hurts. Yes, IT HURTS. And I don't want to think about it. Thinking about it HURTS TOO MUCH. I would see Caleb, decompress from the visit a bit, and then place my precious son back in the box where I kept him. I guess it's a box I call "coping mechanism."

But prayer works. Got has slowly, methodically, miraculously, brought me to a path that on my own would be impossible to tread. Next Monday I begin my new job as a nurse at Brenham State Supported Living Center. Yes, where Caleb lives. I will be near him and see him more often. The patients that I serve will be a lot like him. I am facing my nemesis - autism and other forms of mentally debilitating diseases - head on. And I'm not afraid.

By God's grace, I know I will not stop crying for the "loss" of my child, but I will cry less, because I'm where I'm supposed to be, doing what I can do. Finally, I've stopped running. And the air feels fine.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I almost started crying when I read this. You are a wonderful woman. Talk about making a difference, you are doing it and doing it without sermons. Jusk walking the walk. Please keep us up with how it is going.